Article analysis - Black holes & planet formation in action

Essay by junejulyCollege, UndergraduateA-, November 2012

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Term Project

The following assignment is designed to explore scientific literacy and critical thinking skills. Hence, two articles will be examined. They both deal with research in two different branches of astronomy.

Twisted Light Could Enable Black Hole Detection

The following article deals with a theory regarding how black holes distort the movement of light in neighboring sectors of space. The argument is that the black holes actually rotate and this rotation put a spin on photons. The result is referred to as twisted light. The article explains how a tool called holographic detector has been created to filter light beams. This machine separates the twisted light from other forms of light (Matson).

In layman terms the scientists have done two things. They have created a theory about what a rotating black hole does to light in surrounding areas. It causes it to spin in an unusual way. They have created a machine called a holographic detector.

This machine is a little like polarized glasses. It allows scientists to see previously invisible black holes by showing their boundaries (Matson).

This study was significant for a number of reasons. The first reason that it is significant is because it provides a new method for detecting stellar phenomena. Black holes have such high gravities that even light can't escape. This means that they can't be detected (Matson). These researchers have solved this problem by looking for unusual effects in the areas surrounding black holes. This allowed them to detect a black hole by determining its border (Matson).

The research is not immediately useful to people outside of astronomy. However, it is a good example of creative problem solving that might be applicable to other fields. For example, this type of thinking could provide a model for diagnosing disease. So it is the...